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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

This is a rather frightening article about kids who are psychopaths.

Yet I wonder… is it perhaps too quick to label all kids with this specific set of behaviors as psychopaths?

I’m thinking of two kids that I dealt with at the behavior center where I taught. One of them definitely was a psychopath. He didn’t even feel pain the same way that other kids did. The orderlies would jack him up and he’d be both screaming and laughing, and basically they couldn’t do anything with him until the screaming tired him out enough that he was no longer able to fight them. Then they’d take him to the isolation room and let him loose, and he’d happily bounce around in there until he was let out again, at which point maybe he’d participate in class, maybe he wouldn’t. We used positive reinforcement to encourage participation, of course. But sometimes he just snapped and tried to hurt people even with that, and then the cycle started all over again.

It was pretty clear to those of us in the program that this was a kid who was going to be the next Charles Manson. He had no empathy, his view of the world was very monochromic, he hurt based on whim with no conscience, he was, basically, evil.

Then there’s another kid. He was a mini gang banger. As in, doing drive-by shootings on his bicycle, throwing cinder blocks off of Interstate pedestrian walkways and laughing as they smashed through car windshields and killed people, etc. Yet… we threw a birthday party for him. His little 5 year old sister came with his mother to his birthday party. It was quite clear that he loved his little sister dearly. If you said anything that could even conceivably be thought of as critical about his little sister, he would get all upset. And he loved his momma too. This was a kid who wasn’t a psychopath. He’d simply been raised wrong, to view people outside his immediate circle of family and friends as “other”. And he was definitely capable of empathy… as this next story shows:

There were two Hispanic kids in the group that I taught. One was a chubby bespectacled baby-ish kid who was there primarily because the self-control centers of his brain had been burnt out by crack while he was still in his momma’s tummy. He didn’t *want* to do wrong, but sometimes he just did things without thinking. So we were trying to teach him some cognitive workarounds to that impulsiveness that used parts of his brain that weren’t burnt out.

The other was the mini gang banger. They despised each other, these two. Never a good word for each other, and always making trouble for each other. Now, we had a celebration at the end of every week for those kids who’d managed to work their points and get enough points to join the celebration. Nothing fancy, just a little party with some games cupcakes and little gifts from the dollar store or from the district media center at the end of the day when no learning would have been happening anyhow because everybody was happy to go home for the weekend (this being a day program). So anyhow, the chubby kid had gone through some trouble that week, I don’t recall what exactly had happened, and hadn’t made his points. So he got to sit in the front of the classroom in the chairs while we all had fun back in the carpeted nook.

So he’s sitting there looking forlorn, and the mini gang banger says, “C’mon, let Freddie join us.” (Not his name). And I’m, like, “no, he didn’t make his points, that wouldn’t be fair to the kids who did the work to make their points.” So the mini gang banger, let’s call him “Mikey” as in “Mikey hates everything”, keeps begging with those puppy dog eyes to let Freddie join the party. Finally I say, “Why are you asking me to do this for Freddie anyhow? You don’t even like him!”

And he says to me softly, looking down at the table, “I know how he feels.”

Yeah, if you just knew his record, you might think this kid was a psychopath. But he wasn’t. He could feel empathy for others, if he hadn’t been taught to consider that other to be a non-person, or if he interacted with that person every day so he could learn that this person was a fellow human being and not an “other”. That makes all the difference, in the end, and probably is why he’s not on death row for murder right now (though he’s currently midway through his second stint as a guest of the Texas Department of Corrections for drug dealing –quelle surprise!).

But for the real life psychopaths out there… if they aren’t in prison, it’s because they haven’t been caught yet. Either because they’re too smart, or they got a job on Wall Street. Either way, they view human beings as prey, not as fellow travellers in the human race. And they are in charge.

They are in charge.

If that doesn’t fucking terrify you, you’re dumber than a box of rocks. Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Psychopath-observin’ Penguin

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Dementia sucks

That is all :(.

– Badtux the Sad Penguin

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No evidence that flossing has any medical benefits.

Apparently Big Floss has brainwashed us all. There’s been studies, but none of them have shown that flossing does anything that’ll keep teeth from falling out or decaying that can’t be done with other methods such as toothpicks to pick food out from between your teeth. In short, yet another piece of conventional wisdom turns out to be pretty much “conventional” rather than “wisdom”. The ADA pretty much says now, “well, we don’t have evidence supporting flossing, but it *might* work, so do it anyhow.” Uhm, okay. See this wooden block? This wooden block is an elephant repellant block. I know it works because I haven’t seen a single elephant anywhere near me for years…

This reminds me of the demonization of eggs. Back when cholesterol was tagged as the bad guy in heart disease, it was basically suggested that if you ate eggs on a regular basis you were going to die of a heart attack. Thing is, once you adjust for other factors such as weight and exercise level, there’s no evidence that suggests any connection between eggs and heart disease. The only study that showed *any* correlation at all — the doctors study — didn’t adjust for weight and exercise level, and *still* showed only a tiny increase in chances of a heart attack, and only if you ate more than one egg per day.

In short, to meet my goals for protein and calories, I’m eating two eggs per day, and not worrying about it. Controlling my weight while making sure I get enough protein to keep my organs healthy is far better for heart health than any kind of dietary cholesterol restrictions…

– Badtux the Health Penguin

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I mean, that’s no surprise to anybody who’s followed the Republican nomination process this year, and today’s offer of the nomination to Donald Trump — and his acceptance — would qualify the convention as full of shit if nothing else had happened. But… now the GOP convention is literally full of shit, due to an outbreak of Norovirus.

Plagues of locusts and toads tomorrow?

– Badtux the Head-shakin’ Penguin

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WTF, AMA?

So I took my blood pressure this morning, and it popped slightly into the yellow range. According to the documentation with my blood pressure monitor, that’s the “caution” range. It does that from time to time. So I went online and checked what it meant and it said “make lifestyle changes.” Then I checked the blood pressure charts and… WTF? My blood pressure is below average for a man my age? And in fact is average for a man ten years younger than me?

I don’t get it. What purpose is served by telling people whose blood pressure is below average for someone their age, who in fact has the BP of a man ten years younger, that they need to “make lifestyle changes”? Other than discrediting the medical profession as a bunch of idiots who can’t tell the difference between normal aging and disease, that is?

– Badtux the Healthy(?) Penguin

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The Free Market Fairy and his... her... magic wand of Free Market Magic Dust

The Free Market Fairy and his… her… magic wand of Free Market Magic Dust

So we don’t need things like the FDA because the magical Free Market Fairy will sprinkle his… her… magic Free Market Fairy Dust on everything and all will be well, right? For proof of that, look at Specialty Compounding of Cedar Park, TX, whose products are perfectly safe thanks to all that magical free market fairy dust that makes, like, everything turn out okay.

Just ignore the Rhodococcus equi bacteria. I see nothing, nothing I say! Nobody ever got harmed by a little bacteria in their bloodstream anyhow, right? I mean, other than the ones who got sick and died, but sheesh. They were just ninnies anyhow, it’s evolution in action!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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High times

Well, my history series is sort of at a standstill right now because of a medication crisis. I had to change medications due to an allergy attack that didn’t respond to the non-drowsiness allergy medications, meaning I’m on good ole’ Benadryl right now. Which sure knocked the sniffles out cold… but also has *me* pretty much knocked out cold.

We’ll see if I’ll be able to write anything more this evening. I’m suspecting not, though. I’m pretty damned high right now.

– Badtux the Sniffly Penguin

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